Various Artists, Ritual Music of Ethiopia

Michael Azerrad

By Michael Azerrad

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Possibly the weirdest sounding tunes on eMusic.

As Editor-in-Chief of eMusic, I listen to a fair amount of music that's available on the site, and I think this might be the weirdest thing I have ever heard. It's by the Gidole people, subsistence farmers in a mountainous, remote area of southwestern Ethiopia. It's a tough life. So it's no wonder that, as the album's liner notes state, "When the people of these tribes sing, play or dance, they give themselves totally to the music. The frenzy of the ritualistic performances is attested to by the trance state which many of the people will enter during festivals." The album highlight, “Giddle Instrumental (Giddle tribe),” is played on bamboo filla flutes and it sounds like one of those trippy buried backwards tracks on a Beatles song like "I Am the Walrus." If you don't start hallucinating wildly about 60 seconds in, you might want to check if you have a pulse.